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Tin Thuzar, the owner and matriarch of a Yangon tailoring shop embroiled in a high-profile domestic abuse case that ultimately saw her sentenced to more than 15 years in prison last month, died on Sunday at Insein Prison Hospital.
“She died from diabetes and heart disease,” Thiri Latt, a daughter of the deceased, told DVB.
Tin Thuzar, in her late 50s, was sentenced to 16 years and one month in prison on 15 December 2017 — during a hearing at which she seemed to be suffering from health problems, appearing in a wheelchair.
The high-profile case of Tin Thuzar and several of her family members involved the enslavement, torture and abuse of two young housemaids at the Ava Tailors garment shop in Yangon’s Kyauktada Township.
One of the victims told authorities that she had all her fingers and one arm broken as punishment for arguing back to the family, and said they often denied the two girls food and water.
Under a mix of charges spanning Burma’s Anti-Human Trafficking Law, Childs Rights Law and Penal Code provisions, Tin Thuzar and her daughter Su Mon Latt received identical sentences, with hard labour. Other members of the family were also sentenced to lesser prison time last month.
The case was brought to authorities’ attention when reporter Swe Win of the Myanmar Now news agency filed a complaint with the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC). Following negotiations mediated by the commission, the family agreed to pay the abused girls a total sum of 5 million kyats ($4,000) as compensation for mistreating them.
However, the national police force’s Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce in September 2016 issued a warrant for the family’s arrest and they were subsequently detained.
The MNHRC’s overall handling of the case stirred controversy and widespread public outrage, with four members of the commission resigning as a result in October 2016.